A single-engine personal aircraft crashed just after 10:00 a.m. on Monday at the Missoula Montana Airport, injuring the pilot and closing the airport for about two hours.

KGVO News spoke with Missoula Airport Director Brian Ellestad just after noon who provided details of the incident.

“We had a small general aviation aircraft crash upon landing,” said Ellestad. “The tower advised us and we were out there within seconds to take care of the pilot, who was the single passenger. We were able to get the pilot removed and he was transported to a local hospital.”

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As airport personnel rushed to the scene, Ellestad said the safe recovery of the injured pilot was the first priority.

“Obviously the safety of the passenger was the first concern,” he said. “First we got him taken care of and out of the airplane and transported and then we had to work with the NTSB (National Transportation and Safety Board) and take lots of pictures. We had to make sure that the site was not disturbed while we were taking pictures.”

After the pilot was safely transported to a local hospital, Ellestad said the cleanup of the crash site could be completed.

“About an hour to an hour and a half later NTSB gave us authority to remove the aircraft,” he said. “So we're removing the aircraft right now. We'll put it in a safe place until they (NTSB investigators) get here on-site to inspect the aircraft and figure out what happened.”

KGVO referenced the NTSB website for its policy regarding the investigation process after a small plane crash at a local airport.

‘While the exact scope and extent of any specific investigation depend on the nature of the accident being investigated, every NTSB investigation goes through the same general process, which involves:

1) the initial notification and decided to investigate;

2) on-site fact gathering;

3) analysis of facts and determination of probable cause;

4) acceptance of a final report; and

5) advocating for the acceptance of safety recommendations arising from the investigation.’

Click here for the full NTSB crash investigation policy.

Ellestad said normal operations at the busy Missoula International Airport resumed just after noon on Monday.

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